Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
To the Fountain of Vaucluse—Contemplations of Death
By Petrarch (1304–1374)
“Chiare, fresche e dolci acque”

Translation of Translation of Robert, Viscount Molesworth

YE limpid brooks, by whose clear streams
My goddess laid her tender limbs!
Ye gentle boughs, whose friendly shade
Gave shelter to the lovely maid!
Ye herbs and flowers, so sweetly pressed        5
By her soft rising snowy breast!
Ye zephyrs mild, that breathed around
The place where Love my heart did wound!
Now at my summons all appear,
And to my dying words give ear.        10
If then my destiny requires,
And Heaven with my fate conspires,
That Love these eyes should weeping close,
Here let me find a soft repose.
So death will less my soul affright,        15
And free from dread, my weary sprite
Naked alone will dare t’ essay
The still unknown, though beaten way;
Pleased that her mortal part will have
So safe a port, so sweet a grave.        20
The cruel fair, for whom I burn,
May one day to these shades return,
And smiling with superior grace,
Her lover seek around this place;
And when instead of me she finds        25
Some crumbling dust tossed by the winds,
She may feel pity in her breast,
And sighing, wish me happy rest,
Drying her eyes with her soft veil:
Such tears must sure with Heaven prevail.        30
Well I remember how the flowers
Descended from these boughs in showers,
Encircled in the fragrant cloud
She sat, nor ’midst such glory proud.
These blossoms to her lap repair,        35
These fall upon her flowing hair,
(Like pearls enchased in gold they seem,)
These on the ground, these on the stream;
In giddy rounds these dancing say,
“Here Love and Laura only sway.”        40
In rapturous wonder oft I said,
Sure she in Paradise was made;
Thence sprang that bright angelic state,
Those looks, those words, that heavenly gait,
That beauteous smile, that voice divine,        45
Those graces that around her shine.
Transported I beheld the fair,
And sighing cried, How came I here?
In heaven, amongst th’ immortal blest,
Here let me fix and ever rest.        50

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.